"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Farm Finanaces

We are just about all out of hay. There might be a week's worth left in the hayloft, from the grass we cut and raked off the smallest field back in July or August. God, I remember doing that, it was so hot. I must have raked and pitched up fourteen pickup loads worth, and my arms and back hurt for a week. And about half of it spoiled in a sudden summer downpour.  We still had to pick it up, though, so it didn't kill the grass underneath. 

I thought the hay would last longer. We've gone through 36 bought bales as well as the farm hay. We started feeding hay exclusively around the middle or end of November. That makes no sense. That's six bales a week, or just about a bale a day. How can that be? I haven't been feeding them that much! 

Oh wait I remember, some of the hay I bought was no good for food, it was slightly moldy and we used it for bedding. But even so. That was only three or four bales, which doesn't change the equation very much. Six goats, a pony, and three alpacas. The goat's eat the lion's share (the lion's share of hay, ha ha). The pony appears to eat very little but gets hugely fat anyway (probably pregnant). And for a long time I was overfeeding the alpacas. I was giving them a flake apiece every day, but as it turns out they only need a a third as much. Now that I know that I can conserve a little.

So for the winter so far - the winter which is only half over - I've spent about $200 on hay, and lord knows how much in chicken food, pig food, alpaca food, goat food, and alfalfa pellets. Five different kinds of food, about two 50# bags/month, at an averaged cost of $16/bag... That's $160/month. Sounds about right, but sheesh. I haven't seen an egg in over a month! Those are going to be some pretty pricey eggs by the time they start laying in spring. 

The pig is getting close to slaughter weight, a little bigger than the last one, so figure he'll get us about 120 pounds of meat, maybe 140. And I expect to have two or three meat kids this year, but they won't be ready to eat until next fall. And of course, milk season is coming up. All the milk and cheese we can eat. And the trade network will kick in by May, so free veggies and fruits all spring and summer. I don't know, maybe it all evens out. 

Is there an accountant in the house?


Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

My husband and I raise Boer goats and as much as I love goats I do hate how much hay they waste. I have never seen a farm animal waste as much hay as the goats do. We have been trying to figure out a hay feeder they won't tear up, we have built several wooden ones but so far it is goats 2 and hay feeders 0. I think we have figured out a hay feeder they won't tear up is going to have to be metal. Luckily we do get some of our hay off of our own land and don't have to buy all of it in, that helps.

Aimee said...

I don't know how many goats you have, but I have six, and find that a corner-manger which holds about four flakes of hay works nicely. It's bolted to two walls so they haven't been able to hurt it yet.